UK injects £77 million into maritime decarbonisation


The UK government has kicked off a multi-million-pound Zero Emission Vessels and Infrastructure (ZEVI) competition to help decarbonise the country’s maritime sector. 

The ZEVI competition, launched on 6 February, will see £77 million ($92.87 million) invested into clean maritime technology. 

It will also see innovative companies apply for the funding, which must be used to decarbonise technology both on board and shoreside.

The funding will take the tech from the factory to the sea through identifying which projects will have a long-term impact in reducing emissions.

The government requires that the successful projects show that they could use this money to work with major UK ports and operators to launch a zero-emission vessel by 2025.

Examples of such technology include battery electric vessels, shoreside electrical power, ships running on low carbon fuels like hydrogen or ammonia, and wind-assisted ferries.

UK waters are expected to see zero-emission ferries, cruises, and cargo ships within two years. 

READ: UK Maritime Minister highlights decarbonization ambitions

“Our funding will support a cleaner freight system, a more environmentally friendly tourism industry, and a net-zero maritime sector,” said UK’s Transport Secretary, Mark Harper.

According to Defence Secretary and Shipbuilding Tsar, Ben Wallace, this competition will be overseen by Innovate UK, which has a successful record of delivering similar competitions across government.

Innovate UK, Executive Director for Net Zero, Mike Biddle, said: “Innovate UK will work closely with the Department for Transport in delivering the Zero Emission Vessel and Infrastructure competition, resulting in multi-year real world demonstrations of clean maritime technologies around the UK.”

READ: UK Government pushes on with shore power

The government is also calling on universities across the UK to join forces to establish a new Clean Maritime Research Hub, with £7.4 million ($8.94 million) funding from government and additional funding from academia and industry.

Research in the fundamental science behind clean maritime technologies will be delivered by the hub, building evidence and expertise for the maritime sector.

It will also support skills development across the industry and generate knowledge for maritime decision-makers, according to the government. 

The ZEVI fund and Clean Maritime Research Hub are part of the UK SHORE programme, launched in March 2022 with £206 million ($248.6 million) in funding. 

UK SHORE aims to tackle shipping emissions and advance the UK towards a sustainable shipping future.

The hub will be delivered in partnership with and co-funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).

This investment has come almost half a year after the UK government launched a five-year maritime strategy focussing on enhanced seabed mapping and tackling security threats.

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